The Canada Day content continues with LambLion, the Americana-rock duo of Oliver and Danka Pigott. A few weeks back, they shared their single and video for Only the Brave with me. You can (and should) read more about that HERE. Today, they were brave enough to wade into battle with my stupid questions. You can check that out below.
Introduce yourself: Name, age (feel free to lie), home base and other details you’d like to share— height / weight / identifying marks / astrology sign / your choice.
Mr. & Mrs. Pigott. Oliver and Danka Pigott. Husband-and-wife duo from Toronto. Proud parents to 17-month-old twin boys.
What is your musical origin story?
Danka used to help run an indie theatre and we were in a play together. During intermission we sang as a duo “in character” and it was electric! After that experience, we began to sing together frequently and soon LambLion was born.
What’s your latest project? Tell us everything we need to know.
We just released our latest single, Only the Brave. The song was produced and co-written by Marc Copely (Willie Nelson, Roseanne Cash) in Nashville, just before COVID. It turned out to be a prophetic song for this strange new world we are living in. The lyric in the chorus begins, “no cowards when the hour comes … only the brave.” It is a real call to action. Can we stand in our courage and bravery when the time calls for us to do so? Our dear filmmaker friend with whom we make all our videos then crafted a compelling visual landscape for the song by intercutting a stark bike ride through the quarantined streets of Toronto with us singing in the wilderness of the Canadian North. We then took things a step further and put together a mini-documentary, in which we asked people to nominate and tell us about brave individuals in their lives. Their stories were a powerful reminder of the everyday brave souls that exist in our world: Mothers, grandfathers, neighbors, etc. … It was a real gift to be able to honour them.
What truly sets you apart from other artists?
We have an intimacy and authenticity that comes from our union as husband and wife. Recently, we have experienced a profound shift in our world, within and without, since becoming new parents. We are no longer only creating art for ourselves and our community, but for our children and future generations.
What will I learn or how will my life improve by listening to your music?
We take great care in crafting lyrics that are personal and universal in nature. The lyrics at times take on a sermon-like quality, where our deepest desires for our hearts and our world are revealed. When it comes to production, we make a conscious choice to work with top-notch artists in order to achieve dynamic and compelling soundscapes, to help carry the message of our music.
What album / song / artist / show changed your life?
OLIVER: I learned my first instrument, the harmonica, figuring out every lick on the song Forty Days and Forty Nights from the Muddy Waters album Fathers And Sons. That was the inception of my musical journey.
Tell us about the first song you wrote and / or the first gig you played and what you got paid.
The first song we wrote as LambLion was our recent debut release, War. It explores that place of inner contemplation where the light and dark within meet. The moments of self doubt and the longing for love. It is a song that is vulnerable and honest.
What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you gave?
The most memorable performance was the first time we asked Sarah Murphy Dyson to dance to our music while we played live at The Horseshoe. Sarah is an exceptional artist and professional ballerina. She danced to our music on pointe and it was stunning! The contrast of seeing such grace in a bar setting was unique and powerful. That day LambLion’s “rock ‘n’ roll ballerina” was born! Sarah has been dancing for us ever since and it was a great pleasure to feature her in our debut music video for our song War.
What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you’ve seen another artist give?
DANKA: The most memorable performance I saw was Cate Blanchett on stage at the BAM in Brooklyn in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire. She was riveting to watch and so truthful in her portrayal of Blanche DuBois.
What do you want to be doing in 10 years?
We are artists for life and we will always be making music and telling stories. In 10 years we see ourselves with a homestead for our family and living in nature. We envision having our own home recording studio and collaborating with musicians from all over the world!
What living or dead artists would you collaborate with if you could?
Jimi Hendrix, Beethoven, Joni Mitchell, Mel Torme, Carol King, Etta James, Mozart.
What artist or style of music do you love that would surprise people?
We’re big Weird Al fans. He’s a gifted songwriter (check out his originals) and world-class musician who found a niche market.
What are your favourite songs / albums / artists right now?
If We Were Vampires by Jason Isbell. Most of his music is brilliantly written.
How about some other favourites? Authors / movies / painters / philanthropists / you name it.
OLIVER: Graham Greene (Brighton Rock is one of his best), Joel Goldsmith (read The Thunder Of Silence), Fight Club, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Owen Benjamin (great comedian, great podcast), Gavin McInnes.
DANKA: Nikola Tesla, Martha Graham, Bette Davis, Leonardo DaVinci, John Patrick Shanley, Frida Kahlo.
What do you drive and why? What do you want to drive and why?
We drive a Honda Civic that was gifted to us recently by one of Oliver’s vocal students. It was such a generous gift and came at a time when we were really in need of a car, especially with twin boys! We were so touched by her act of kindness. Our dream vehicle would be a ’70s muscle car, as we both love that sleek, masculine look and feel.
What superpower do you want and how would you use it?
The ability to tell the future. Interestingly, the more grounded we are, the more that superpower seems to become a reality.
What skills — useful or useless — do you have outside of music?
Danka ran an indie theatre in Toronto for several years. She is a brilliant theatre actress and director and we have incorporated a lot of theatrical elements into our live performances and music videos. Oliver used to move furniture as a side job when he was a musician in L.A. and now we call him the Tetris master of car packing! He is so good at fitting in tons of stuff into the car, especially now that we have lots of extra items when it comes to our boys!
What do you collect?
We just started collecting children, and will soon be looking to add a third!
If I had a potluck, what would you bring?
Danka would bake a cheese pie with her grandmother’s recipe from Serbia! It is similar to Tiropita (Greek cheese pie). It is delicious and always a hit with people!
What current trend or popular thing do you not understand at all?
Baseball hats placed delicately atop the head, with the tag still on.
Tell us about your current and/or former pets.
We have had our cat Mabel for 12 years. She is a Bengal and is quite exotic and beautiful. She also has an attitude and marches to the beat of her own drum. Even though she is independent, she does love to snuggle. She also adores finding sun patches in our Toronto apartment for a nice long sun bath. Since having the twins, we’ve caught her sleeping in the boys’ cribs from time to time.
If you could have any other job besides music, what would it be and why?
Comedic actors! We’ve performed in several plays together, so we’d likely run a theatre. We’ve also written and produced some comedic shorts, which we will likely resurrect in the near future.
What’s the best advice and/or worst advice you were ever given?
Best: Don’t get into the arts for the money.
Worst: Have a backup plan.
What question would you ask if you were an interviewer?
What’s your favorite aspect of being a musician? Is it songwriting, recording, collaboration or live performance (our favorite is collaboration).